Press release, 29 June 22
Press release, 29 June 22
Werner Herzog is cult! A celebrated director whose work premieres at international film festivals, Herzog stands not only for his non-conformist attitude among cineastes, but is also highly popular among the internet-savvy generation. There is hardly another living director who can keep pace with the extent of Herzog’s many professional achievements, not to mention his imitators on social networks. The popular television entertainers Joko & Klaas parodied him, Herzog has had guest appearances on the ‘Simpsons,’ and he has drawn a great deal of attention to the ‘Star Wars’ series ‘The Mandalorian’ (since 2019) by playing the villain.
In around 70 feature films and documentaries, Werner Herzog has created an extraordinary visual canon that goes far beyond what we are accustomed to seeing at the cinema. As a New German Cinema auteur filmmaker, Herzog established ties with German film heritage (‘Nosferatu – Phantom der Nacht,’ 1979). At the same time, he earned his reputation as an obsessed director who, much like his protagonists, constantly strives to move the goalposts (‘Fitzzcarraldo,’ 1982). Since his move to the USA at the start of the 2000s, in addition to feature films with Hollywood stars such as Christian Bale, Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage, Herzog has filmed numerous idiosyncratic documentaries, which address the conflicting relationship between humans and nature (‘Grizzly Man’, 2005; ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’, 2010) or raise questions about guilt and atonement (‘On Death Row’, 2012–13). Herzog is constantly searching for an “ecstatic truth” that exists on a deeper level than reality. The director challenges his audiences; he polarizes them. His career has been accompanied by controversial debates, in which opinions are sometimes sharply opposed.
The exhibition introduces to a broad audience the filmmaker’s complex body of work as well as “Werner Herzog as a Media Phenomenon.” The sections on “Nature” and “Human” elucidate Herzog’s film aesthetic, and under the headings “Voices” and “Persona,” the media figure shifts into focus. Media installations allow viewers to delve into Herzog’s visual universe while showing breathtaking film sequences of jungles and deserts, rites and religions, but also the diametrical arrogance and humility of human beings. In recent interviews from Thomas von Steinaecker’s film ‘Radical Dreamer’ (which will premiere in October 2022), film professionals, including Wim Wenders and Nicole Kidman, Chloé Zhao and Christian Bale, give accounts of their work with the director. Comic drawings, produced especially for the exhibition, set the stage and poke fun at the Herzog “Myth.”
The exhibition builds on the Deutsche Kinemathek’s extensive Werner Herzog Archive. Many of its objects are being presented to the public for the first time. Over the course of the exhibition, the Werner Herzog Archive will be enhanced with photos from the filmmaker’s most recent productions: www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/en/collections-archives/digital-collection/werner-herzog-archive.
The audio guide, also available as an app, features Herzog’s commentary and remarks from his most important collaborators. In his distinctive, sonorous voice, the director introduces the exhibits and provides fascinating insights about production on his films. Members of Herzog’s casts and crews provide background information and their personal impressions. By using the app, visitors can take advantage of the several interactive stations while also participating in the exhibition.
Two premieres of current films by Werner Herzog, who will personally attend (in October 2022), and an extensive film series (February 2023) accompany the exhibition. The films will be screened at Kino Arsenal.
A press tour with the team of curators takes place at the Deutsche Kinemathek on August 24, 2022, at 11 am. Invitations will be sent out shortly before the preview. The exhibition has been organized in cooperation with the EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam.
It is funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital Cultural Fund) and supported by the Förderkreis der Deutschen Kinemathek e.V. (members’ support association).
The Deutsche Kinemathek is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Neustart Kultur program.
Media partners: ARTE, radioeins (rbb), tipBerlin and EXBERLINER